SOUTH AFRICA – Sanari Capital, a private equity firm, has invested R25 million (US$1.49m) in LightWare LiDAR, a South African company supplying world-class microLiDAR sensor technology to global companies.
Established in 2012, LightWare gives ‘eyes to machines’, designing and manufacturing the world’s smallest and lightest precision LiDAR systems for use in drones, robots, autonomous vehicles, smart cities and other applications.
“We’re also pleased that this investment signals the beginning of our partnership with 27four, who in addition to committing to Sanari’s new R1.5bn Lower and Mid Market Fund (Sanari LMM Fund) currently being raised, has worked with Sanari to warehouse the investment for the new fund. LightWare will therefore be the first investment for Sanari LMM Fund with another investment for the fund currently underway,” said Pokroy.
Rory Ord, Head of Unlisted Investments at 27four, added “We are excited to back Sanari to complete the investment in a cutting-edge business like Lightware, and worked closely with the Sanari team through the investment process. We are looking forward to the close of the Sanari LMM Fund and to doing more investments with the team.”
With more than 40 years of management experience in the field of laser rangefinders, LightWare delivers leading-edge LiDAR technology to global halo clients including the largest internet, logistics and drone companies in the world.
LiDAR is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure distance to objects.
With more than 95% of its devices exported worldwide, LightWare has built a solid reputation as a global player in autonomous navigation and collision-avoidance applications for LiDAR technology.
Tailwinds for LiDAR were already emerging when the transaction was initially contemplated, driven by the staged regulatory opening of autonomous drone delivery in the US and widespread use of drones for the delivery of life-saving medical supplies to remote areas in Africa. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the adoption and use-cases for LiDAR technology.
“Not only does LightWare present an opportunity for attractive financial returns, confirmed by its profiling by Silicon Valley veteran investment bank, Woodside Capital Partners, as one of the leading 99 growth companies globally expected to prosper amidst the pandemic, but it is also supportive of Sanari’s focus on ‘Doing Good whilst Doing Well’,” Moushmi Patel, Partner at Sanari Capital, said.
“We are pleased that LightWare can play such an important role in the COVID-19 response, promoting South African industry on a global platform and creating jobs and skills for our local market.”
With emerging megatrends such as the demand for contactless solutions (delivery by drone, workplace robots, IoT monitoring and management), remote medicine, test kit and vaccine delivery, and e-commerce, the demand has intensified.
“Every company with aspirations reaches a point where it’s time to seek investment – and this time has come for LightWare. We’re pleased that Sanari Capital has come on board as partners in our ever-growing venture,” James Portman, Founder and CEO of LightWare, said.
“LightWare is poised for massive international expansion, and our partnership with Sanari will fuel this aggressive growth, enabling us to rapidly bring a series of innovative products to a global audience.”